Life insurance is simply a contract between the policyholder and the insurance company. The policyholder pays a premium to the insurance company for a specific number of years (or for life), and in return the insurer promises to pay a sum assured to the nominee upon the death of the policyholder. For some policies, the insurer pays a maturity benefit to the policyholder, if he/she survives the term. However, these terms differ for different policies.


  • Policyholder
    Policyholder is the individual who pays the premium for the life insurance policy and signs a life insurance contract with a life insurance company.
  • Premium
    A premium is the cost the policyholder pays the life insurance company for covering his/her life.
  • Maturity
    Maturity is the stage at which the policy term is completed and the life insurance contract ends.
  • Insured
    Insured is the individual whose life is secured via the life insurance . After his/her death the insurance company is accountable to provide a financial amount to the dependents.
  • Sum Assured
    The amount the insurance company pays the dependents of the insured if those events occur which are specified in the life insurance contract.
  • Policy Term
    Policy term is the specified duration listed in the life insurance contract for which the insurance company provides a life cover and the time period during which the contract is active.
  • Nominee
    A nominee is an individual listed in the life insurance contract who is entitled to receive the predetermined compensation, as a part of the policy.
  • Claim
    On the insured’s demise, the nominees can file a claim with the insurance provider in order to receive the predetermined payout amount.


The fundamental principles of insurance are the following:

(i) Principle of Utmost Good Faith:

A contract of insurance is based on the principle of utmost good faith to be observed by both the parties – the insured and the insurance company – towards each other. If one party conceals any material information from the other party, which may influence the other party’s decision to enter into the contact of insurance; the other party can avoid the contract.

The principle of utmost good faith is equally applicable to both the parties. However, the onus i.e. burden to proof of making a full and fair disclosure of all material facts usually rests primarily upon the insured; because the insured is supposed to have an intimate knowledge of the subject-matter of insurance.

Principle of Insurable Interest:          

The principle of insurable interest is the foundation of a contract of insurance. In the absence of insurable interest, the contract of insurance is a mere gamble and not enforceable in a court of law.

Insurable interest may be defined as follows:

A person is said to have insurable interest in the subject matter of insurance; when with respect to the subject matter he is so situated that he will benefit from its existence and lose from its destruction.

In case of life insurance; insurable interest must exist at the time of making the contract.

Principle of Cause Proxima (i.e. the Proximate Cause):

According to this principle, it is found out which is the proximate cause or the nearest cause of loss to the insured property. If the nearest cause of loss is a factor which is insured against; then only the insurance company is liable to compensate for the loss, otherwise not. This principle states that no amount of policy will be paid to the nominees in case the person insured commits the suicide.


Term Life Insurance

A term insurance policy is a pure life cover policy. The premium is paid to an insurance company for a specific number of years. In case of the death of the insured, the sum assured is paid to the family. It does not come with any maturity benefit. It provides high coverage risks at low premiums. In case the assured outlives the plan, he is not liable to get back the sum assured.

But now days there is a plan of Term Plan with Return of Premiums in which if the insured person outlives the plan, the insurance company pay back all the premiums.

Endowment Plans

Endowment plans are again a combination of savings and protection. If the premiums are paid on schedule for a specific number of years, insurers promise to pay the assured sum to the nominee in case of the untimely death of the policyholder. Meanwhile, if the policyholder survives the policy term, he/she receives a lump sum payout as the maturity benefit. 

Unit Linked Plans (ULIPs)

Unit linked insurance plan, better known as ULIP, is a combination of insurance and investment. The investments are made in debt and equities by a fund manager assigned by the insurance provider. However, the policyholders can choose whether he/she wants to invest in debt or equity and in what proportion. Though there are no guaranteed returns, a lump sum amount is paid to the policyholder at maturity. However, if he/she dies during the policy tenure, the insurer pays him/her a sum assured. It involves high returns on the amount invested.

Money Back Life Insurance

Moneyback policies are also a combination of savings and protection. But the key advantage of this policy is that a portion of the sum assured is paid to you at a regular interval during the policy tenure. The remaining amount along with the bonus is paid at maturity. This benefit is not available for any other life insurance policy. However, if the policyholder dies during the policy tenure then the entire sum assured is paid to the nominee.

Whole Life Insurance

As the name suggests, a whole life insurance policy gives a cover for life. If the premium amount is paid regularly, the insurer promises to pay the sum assured to the nominee of the policyholder after the death of the policyholder. Apart from the sum assured, it also includes a saving component. 

The sum assured or the coverage is decided at the time of policy purchase and is paid to the nominee at the time of death claim of the life assured along with bonuses if any.

However, if the life assured outlives the age of 100 years, the insurance company pays the matured endowment coverage to the life insured.

Child Plan

Child plan helps to build funds for child’s education and marriage. Most of the chold plan provides annual installments or one time payout after the age of 18 years. In case of an unfortunate event, the insured parent passes away during the policy term, the insurance company is liable to pay the whole amount of the policy immediately. Some child plans waives off the future premiums on death of the life insured and the policy continues till maturity.

Retirement Plan

Retirement plan helps to build corpus for your retirement. It helps to live independently financially and without worries.

In case of an unfortunate event, life assured passes away during the policy term – an immediate payment is payable to the nominee by the insurance company. Death benefit will be higher of coverage or fund value or 105% of premiums paid.



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